1. Get Your ZZZ’s
When you don’t get enough sleep, or the quality of your sleep is not restful, it takes a giant toll on your mind and body. It probably comes as no surprise that even short-term sleep deficiencies can negatively impact your mental and performance state. For a better quality of life during your waking hours, including the ability to focus and be present and mindful during your day-to-day, make your goal for this new year in 2022 to get the sleep your body needs.
2. Design a Morning Routine for Success
But the first thing you do when you wake up will set the tone for your entire day. If you want to move through your day with ease, energy, awareness and confidence, start your day with activities that encourage those states of mind. If you want to move through your day feeling anxious and irritated, there are things you can do to incite those feelings, too, although I wouldn’t recommend them.
3. Quit a Bad Habit
It can feel daunting to break a bad habit that you’ve been struggling with for years, but it’s not as hard as you might think if you have a solid plan. Just as you learned to do the thing you’re trying not to do – you can unlearn it, too. It takes 30 days to learn a new habit and 30 days to break one as well.
4. Learn to Be More Patient
While the thought of waiting for something you want or need seems easy in theory, it is much more arduous in practice. The good news is that even the most impatient people can improve patience. And there are ample opportunities to practice being patient, given the inevitable inconveniences, annoyances, and unplanned challenges that show up pretty much all the time. So you want to get better at patience? You must practice patience.
Walking meditation is a great way to slow down your mind and movements. We spend too much of our time rushing from point A to point B. Walking meditation is an opportunity to do just the opposite — think of walking meditation as a slow stroll without any other purpose or destination except to stroll — and be with any experiences that come up while putting one foot in front of the other.
6. Sign Up for a Meditation Class
Meditation is the ultimate practice to add to your days to practice mindfulness. To jump start your practice, try making your 2022 goal to sign up for and commit to a class. It’ll answer any questions you have as you get started and help you make it a habit. I recommend MBSR, or mindfulness-based stress reduction, an eight-week program. You will love the accountability, structure, and camaraderie that came with learning as a group. Try our online version of the MBSR program.
At the beginning of each day (or end of each day for the following day), make a to-do list that only includes three things. You may be tempted to add more than three things, but don’t. If you’re feeling stressed and it’s because you have too much to do, take five minutes to write down all that’s swimming in your head, and then prioritize. Remember, if your to-do list is overwhelmed, chances are you are, too.
8. Schedule Device-Free Time Each Week
One of the biggest roadblocks to maintaining a peaceful mindset is technology. Between our laptops, tablets and smart phones, as a culture, we have become slaves to notifications, dings and beeps.
Try designating device-free windows of time where you ditch your device and stay in the present moment, instead.
9. Go Outside
Spend at least 10 minutes outside each day connecting with nature as your 2022 goal. Feel the wind, listen to the birds, notice the flowers, smile at the passers-by…
10. Practice Yoga
Mindful movement is a great way to practice mindfulness, especially if it’s hard for you to sit still.
In yoga, we start with the body—allowing the body and breath to lead, and the mind to follow. Many people find their way to meditation and mindfulness through yoga because it’s easier to focus on the physical body first. For me, it was the entry point to the entire world of mindfulness.
Plus, it can be a great way to get some exercise, stretch your body, and break a sweat.
11. Get Some Exercise
If yoga isn’t your thing, choose your own exercise to anchor your mind. Check out our list different types of yoga, you would be surprised how many poses your body can go into! But really, any activity that puts you in that heightened state of awareness will do.
12. Develop Your Curiosity Muscles
When you’re curious, problem solving becomes easier because you see more options, paths, and ways of solving a problem than your non-curious counterparts. You question more; you gather more opinions; you don’t stop at the first solution – which can lead to greater possibilities. And, curiosity can definitely help you stay present and mindful to all that surrounds you.
13. Go on a Retreat or Plan a Relaxing Getaway
Make your 2022 goal to plan a mindfulness getaway. Getting away from your day-to-day life and spending some hard-earned down time in a new place is a great way to infuse a giant dose of mindfulness into your year. The trick is: don’t over-plan your trip!
14. Practice Gratitude
It’s easy to be thankful for things and people and gestures that do us right. But it’s also easy to quickly forget. Practicing gratitude — actively — is becoming more aware of the things you treasure and appreciate in your life, leaving behind a sense of happiness and mindfulness, bundled up and stashed in your heart.
15. Eat Mindfully
mindful eating is also incredibly rewarding. When you appreciate and taste each detail of your meal, it’s a truly enjoyable experience and practice in patience. Start your 2022 goal by eating one meal a week mindfully and see how it feels.
16. Spend Quality Time Connecting with Loved Ones
Go to dinner, play a game, have a conversation — and try to keep your smart phone resting on the sidelines to really connect with your present company. You can also try this mindful listening practice to connect even deeper with those around you.
17. Learn How to Say No
Saying NO is one of the most difficult things on earth. Learning to say no is one of the most important skills to have in order to focus on the things you really care about in life.
18. Listen to Music
Instead of flipping the TV on as soon as you get home or phoning a friend, tune into some relaxing music at the end of the workday. Music is a powerful tool to boost your mood, spark an emotion, and calm your soul. Check out these two music playlists — created for meditation, but perfect for unwinding any time.
19. Space Out Activities on Your Calendar
Ever notice when you move from one activity to the next is often where you rush the most? Getting from point A to point B can be stressful. What if there’s a point A ½ that we didn’t quite plan for?
Creating bigger cushions in your day and planning to arrive a few minutes early will allow you to meet unforeseen traffic unfazed, and allow you to take a few deep, mindful breaths with that extra time before your next meeting, activity, or event begins.
And of course, this list would not be complete without adding meditation as an option for your 2022 goal. Meditation makes you more focused, productive, creative, compassionate, less stressed, and overall a healthier and happier human. Need I say more?